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Study: Health Systems, Govt Responses Linked to Virus Tolls | World News

BERLIN (AP) — Scientists say a comparison of 21 developed countries during the start of the coronavirus pandemic shows that those with early lockdowns and well-prepared national health systems avoided large numbers of additional deaths due to the outbreak.

In a study published Wednesday by the journal Nature Medicine, researchers used the number of weekly deaths in 19 European countries, New Zealand and Australia over the past decade to estimate how many people would have died from mid-February to May 2020 had the pandemic not happened.

The authors, led by Majid Ezzati of Imperial College London, then compared the predicted number of deaths to the actual reported figure during that period to determine how many likely occurred due to the pandemic. Such models of ‘excess mortality’ are commonly used by public health officials to better understand disease outbreaks and the effectiveness of counter-measures.

The study found there were about 206,000 excess deaths across the 21 countries during the period, a figure that conforms to independent estimates. In Spain, the number of deaths was 38% higher than would have been expected without the pandemic, while in England and Wales it was 37% higher.

Italy, Scotland and Belgium also had significant excess deaths, while in some countries there was no marked change or even — as in the case of Bulgaria — a decrease.

While the authors note that there are differences in the compositions of populations, such as age and the prevalence of pre-existing conditions that contribute to mortality rates, government efforts to suppress transmission of the virus and the ability of national health systems to cope with the pandemic also played a role.

Amitava Banerjee, a professor of clinical data science at University College London who wasn’t involved in the study, said it was well designed and had used standardized methods.

He noted that the comparison between death rates in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, where the age of the population and the rates of pre-existing conditions such as obesity are similar, supports the argument that other factors contributed to the differing mortality figures.

“Even if vaccines and better treatments for severe (COVID-19) infection are developed, the way to minimise excess deaths is to reduce the infection rate through population level measures,” said Banerjee.

These include lockdowns, protecting high risk groups,and establishing effective “test, trace and isolate” systems, he said.

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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World Bank approves $12B to finance virus vaccines, care

The World Bank has approved $12 billion in financing to help developing countries buy and distribute coronavirus vaccines, tests, and treatments, aiming to support the vaccination of up to 1 billion people.

The $12 billion “envelope” is part of a wider World Bank Group package of up to $160 billion to help developing countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank said in a statement late Tuesday.

The World Bank said its COVID-19 emergency response programs are already reaching 111 countries.

Citizens in developing countries also need access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, it said.


“We are extending and expanding our fast-track approach to address the COVID emergency so that developing countries have fair and equal access to vaccines,” said the bank’s president, David Malpass, said in the statement.

“Access to safe and effective vaccines and strengthened delivery systems is key to alter the course of the pandemic and help countries experiencing catastrophic economic and fiscal impacts move toward a resilient recovery,” he said.

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector lending arm of the World Bank is investing in vaccine manufacturers through a $4 billion Global Health Platform, the World Bank said.

Researchers are working on developing more than 170 potential COVID-19 vaccines.

Development and deployment of such preventive vaccines is crucial to helping stem outbreaks of the coronavirus that has killed more than 1 million people and sickened more than 38 million, while devastating economies and leaving many millions jobless.

The world’s richest countries have locked up most of the world’s potential vaccine supply through 2021, raising worries that poor and vulnerable communities will not be able to get the shots. Meanwhile, an ambitious international project to deliver coronavirus vaccines to the world’s poorest people, called Covax, is facing potential shortages of money, cargo planes, refrigeration and vaccines themselves.

The World Bank said it will draw on expertise and experience from its involvement in many large-scale immunization programs and other public health efforts.

The funding also is meant to help countries access tests and treatments and to support management of supply chains and other logistics for vaccinations in developing countries, the bank said.

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World Bank Approves $12B to Finance Virus Vaccines, Care | Business News

The World Bank has approved $12 billion in financing to help developing countries buy and distribute coronavirus vaccines, tests, and treatments, aiming to support the vaccination of up to 1 billion people.

The $12 billion “envelop” is part of a wider World Bank Group package of up to $160 billion to help developing countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank said in a statement late Tuesday.

The World Bank said its COVID-19 emergency response programs are already reaching 111 countries.

Citizens in developing countries also need access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, it said.

“We are extending and expanding our fast-track approach to address the COVID emergency so that developing countries have fair and equal access to vaccines,” said the bank’s president, David Malpass, said in the statement.

“Access to safe and effective vaccines and strengthened delivery systems is key to alter the course of the pandemic and help countries experiencing catastrophic economic and fiscal impacts move toward a resilient recovery,” he said.

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector lending arm of the World Bank is investing in vaccine manufacturers through a $4 billion Global Health Platform, the statement said.

Development and deployment of vaccines is crucial to helping stem outbreaks of the coronavirus that has killed more than 1 million people and sickened more than 38 million, while devastating economies and leaving many millions jobless.

The World Bank said it will draw on expertise and experience from its involvement in many large-scale immunization programs and other public health efforts.

The funding is meant to also help countries access tests and treatments and to support management of supply chains and other logistics for vaccinations in developing countries, the bank said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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World Bank approves $12 bln for Covid-19 vaccines

The World Bank said Tuesday that it approved $12 billion for developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatment.

The financing “aims to support vaccination of up to a billion people,” the bank said in a statement.

The money is part of an overall World Bank Group (WBG) package of up to $160 billion through June 2021 designed to help developing countries battle the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“This financing package helps signal to the research and pharmaceutical industry that citizens in developing countries also need access to safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines,” the statement read. 

“It will also provide financing and technical support so that developing countries can prepare for deploying vaccines at scale, in coordination with international partners.”

Access to safe and effective vaccines “and strengthened delivery systems is key to alter the course of the pandemic and help countries experiencing catastrophic economic and fiscal impacts move toward a resilient recovery,” World Bank Group President David Malpass said in the statement.

The financing “will also support countries to access to Covid-19 tests and treatments, and expand immunization capacity to help health systems deploy the vaccines effectively,” the statement added.

The financing approval was expected as Malpass had announced the project in late September.

While vaccines have yet to appear on the market, Malpass noted in an interview with the French daily Le Figaro that it was necessary to prepare because of the complicated vaccine distribution process.

The Bank’s approach, according to the statement, draws on its “significant expertise in supporting large scale immunization programs for vaccine preventable diseases, as well as public health programs to tackle infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases.”

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Canada’s Halloween Is Not Canceled, but a Hockey Stick Could Come in Handy | World News

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian children can go trick-or-treating on Halloween despite being in the middle of a second wave of COVID-19, the country’s top health officials say, as long as they practice physical distancing, wear masks and wash their hands.

In Canada as in the United States, Halloween brings armies of children dressed in spooky costumes out onto the streets in search of candy and maybe a fright or two.

For parents, this year’s Halloween is truly a scary prospect, however, as coronavirus case numbers climb. Canada recorded 975 new infections on Monday, and the prime minister warned last week that the country is at a “tipping point” in its battle against a second surge.

“We can have Halloween… It’s possible to give and receive candy safely,” Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, told a news conference on Tuesday.

“There are some really interesting ideas where people are handing out treats on the end of a hockey stick,” added Dr. Theresa Tam, chief medical officer. “Pre-packaging your treats so people are not rummaging in a bowl of candies is actually important.”

More tips, like equipping the kids with small bottles of hand sanitizer, will be posted on the Health Ministry’s website, she said.

Health experts agree it is important to have “some degree of normality” during the pandemic, Tam said, but added that staying outdoors, physical distancing and wearing masks that “could turn into part of your costume” are necessary.

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Myanmar Centenarian Shrugs off Coronavirus, Worries About Grandchildren | World News

YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar centenarian Thein Khin not only beat the coronavirus, but barely knew she had it.

Thein Khin, 100, tested positive for COVID-19 and was kept in an isolation centre last month when the virus spread among four generations of her family, but was asymptomatic and said she was more worried about her grandchildren.

“I felt nothing. I was eating well, showering myself and walking as normal,” she said at her home in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, surrounded by small children.

“If I suffered from this virus, I would be lying and moaning on the bed. But I am strong, walking around. I felt nothing.”

The elderly are among those most vulnerable to the virus that has killed more than a million people worldwide.

The risks are even higher in poorer countries with under-equipped health services, including Myanmar, which is experiencing a surge in infections having been spared a major outbreak early on.

But the sprightly senior was not surprised to emerge unscathed from COVID-19, having had, she said, no major illnesses.

“The situation during World War Two was so much worse. I heard this virus pandemic is also dangerous across the world. But I feel this disease is nothing,” she said.

“Of course, I’m worried for my children and grandkids. Death is no matter for me because I am very old. I have escaped from many deadly, worse and dangerous situations.”

Her granddaughter, Win Win Yee, said the family were thankful all 10 infected members were safe, but would take nothing for granted.

“We are still so scared of getting infected again,” she said. “That’s why we don’t go anywhere outside … We locked ourselves down.”

Coronavirus cases in Myanmar have passed 29,000, from just a few hundred in August, with more than 660 deaths.

(Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Envisioning a Better World by Transforming the Future of Healthcare

New Book Presents Non-Partisan, Solutions-Based Approach to Healthcare For All

Washington, D.C., Oct. 13, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The global COVID-19 pandemic made apparent that the existing public policy and current healthcare systems are ill-prepared to deal with the global challenges of providing quality and affordable healthcare; still, a non-partisan solution to healthcare reform has yet to land on the table.

Until now.

In their book, Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic: Envisioning a Better World by Transforming the Future of Healthcare, authors Ambassador Pradeep K. Kapur and Dr. Joseph M. Chalil present SafetyNet, a healthcare-for-all policy, based on decades of experience in public policy and healthcare management, that challenges the world to have the political consensus to create meaningful change for all—both in the United States and worldwide.

Endorsed by policymakers, thought leaders, Ambassadors worldwide, leading healthcare professionals, and best-selling authors, Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic asks the questions: what if it’s not reform we need, but instead a revolution? What if we reimagined a healthcare system with patients, not big pharma and insurance companies, in the driver’s seat?

For a solutions-based, scientifically, and data-driven approach to Healthcare For All, explore Ambassador Kapur and Dr. Chalil’s Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic—available today.

 

About the Authors:

Ambassador Pradeep K. Kapur is an acknowledged “luminary diplomat,” with a distinguished career working with leaders and policymakers around the world. Author and editor of many books, he was Ambassador of India to Chile and to Cambodia, as well as Secretary at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. 

His healthcare contributions include setting up the acclaimed bilateral India Nepal initiative, the BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences. Additionally, he brings decades of global public policy experience and historical perspectives to the solutions that make Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic: Envisioning a Better World by Transforming the Future of Healthcare unique.

A graduate of the globally acclaimed Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D), he is Executive Director of Smart Village Development Fund (SVDF) of the WHEELS Global Foundation. 

Dr. Joseph M. Chalil, an author of several scientific and research papers in international publications, is the Chairman of the Complex Health Systems Advisory Board, H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University in Florida and a member of Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine (NSU MD) Executive Leadership Council. 

A veteran of the U.S. Navy Medical Corps, he is board certified in healthcare management. He has been awarded a Fellowship by the American College of Healthcare Executives, an international professional society of more than 40,000 healthcare executives who lead hospitals, healthcare systems, and other healthcare organizations. 

He is an expert in U.S. healthcare policy and a strong advocate for patient-centered care. With over two decades of experience working in the U.S. healthcare system, he discusses healthcare delivery challenges, including providing quality, affordable patient care to all, and alternate templates for health insurance.

 

More Information:

Paperback: 276 pages

Publisher: TheUNN Corporation, October 5, 2020

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1735904813

ISBN-13: 978-1735904818

Product

Asia Today: China City Says It’s Tested 3 Million for Virus | World News

BEIJING (AP) — Authorities in the eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao said Tuesday that they have completed coronavirus tests on more than 3 million people following the country’s first reported local outbreak of the virus in nearly two months.

The city’s health department said no new positive cases had been found among the more than 1.1 million test results returned thus far. The city said it had a total of 12 cases, six with symptoms and six without, since the new outbreak was first spotted over the weekend at a hospital.

The National Health Commission, however, said Tuesday that at least six new cases of the virus were found in Qingdao in the past 24 hours.

The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear. China’s methods for logging and reporting of virus numbers has been questioned since the pandemic first began late last year in its city of Wuhan.

The National Health Commission numbers released Tuesday reported a total of 30 new virus cases in the previous 24 hours nationwide. It broke down those numbers into 13 cases in which people had symptoms and 17 cases in which they had no symptoms. The total number of locally transmitted cases, both with and without symptoms, was 11, while the rest were listed as imported.

China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths from coronavirus among 85,591 cases it has reported. It has not provided a running total of asymptomatic cases, believed to number in the thousands.

Authorities in Qingdao have said they plan to test all 9 million people in the city by the end of the week, similar to previous mass testing campaigns in other cities where outbreaks have been detected. Testing began with “close contacts, close contacts of those close contacts and more casual contacts,” gradually expanding to all districts of the city, the health department said.

Qingdao is a major commercial harbor and industrial center known for electronics and the country’s most famous brewery, as well as the home of the Chinese navy’s northern fleet.

China’s last reported local outbreak was in the northwestern city of Urumqi in the far western Xinjiang region, with all cases since then found among those arriving from outside China.

China has relaxed masking and social distancing requirements in the wake of falling case numbers, but has maintained robust testing as it seeks to return the economy to full functioning.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— South Korea has reported 102 new cases of the coronavirus, its first daily increase of more than 100 in six days. The rise is a cause of concern as officials lowered social distancing restrictions this week after concluding that the viral spread was slowing after a spike in mid-August. The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency brought the national totals since the pandemic began to 24,805 infections and 434 deaths. Fifty-eight of the new cases was reported from the Seoul metropolitan area, while 33 of the new cases have

UVDI Announces UV-C Device Presentations at the 16th World Congress on Public Health 2020

Ultraviolet Devices, Inc. (UVDI), a global leader in UV-C surface disinfecting and indoor air quality products, today announced its first Italian hospital studies demonstrating the advanced effectiveness of the UVDI-360 Room Sanitizer will be presented at the 16th World Congress on Public Health 2020, taking place October 12 – 16, 2020. The novel research, conducted by Dr. Gabriele Messina, Associate Professor of Public Health, University of Siena, at the Rugani Hospital Monteriggioni in Siena, demonstrates the UVDI-360’s ability to inactivate pathogens in the hospital environment as part of varied cleaning protocols, in multiple high-risk locations and at different disinfecting cycle times.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201011005076/en/

Researchers from the University of Siena will present “Six ultraviolet minutes for cleaner operating theatres” at the 16th World Congress on Public Health 2020. (Photo: Business Wire)

Presentations from Dr. Messina and his Team at the University of Siena include:

(1) one poster sharing preliminary data of a cross-sectional study measuring overall pathogen reduction on high-touch surfaces in hospital rooms pre-and-post use of the UVDI-360 Room Sanitizer as a supplement to terminal cleaning. Preliminary findings conclude 83% of sites sampled had 0 CFU following the use of the UVDI-360 Room Sanitizer.

(2) a second poster sharing preliminary data of a cross-sectional study demonstrating overall pathogen reduction in operating rooms in six minutes with the UVDI-360 Room Sanitizer used in multiple protocols: with no manual cleaning, manual cleaning in-between operating room use and as a supplement to manual terminal cleaning.

(3) an oral presentation sharing research demonstrating 3-and-4-log reductions of Candida auris at 2.44 meters using the UVDI-360 Room Sanitizer.

(4) a third poster illustrating a simulation model of microbe distribution on surfaces to inform future UV-C testing.

Title: Six ultraviolet minutes for cleaner operating theatres
Track:
Health Technology Assessment
Abstract: #DJ-15

Title: Analytical approach for a better control of environmental contamination
Track:
Hospital hygiene (including AMR), healthcare-associated infections (HAI)
Abstract: #DN-18

Title: A simulation model of microbe overlapping for the correct estimation of UV-C device log-reduction
Track:
Healthcare Technology Assessment
Abstract: #DJ-14

Oral Presentation: Tuning a UV-C device to challenge new threats in the sanitization setting of healthcare facilities
Date and Time:
October 13th, 12:15-13:15

Poster abstracts are accessible via the World Congress website, https://wcph2020.com/. The poster presentations may be accessed through UVDI’s website following their presentation.

About UVDI

UVDI’s Mission is to make a cleaner, safer, and healthier world through advanced UV-C solutions that disinfect the air and surfaces in the environments we live, work, and play in. Founded in 1949 by Louis Veloz, UVDI designs and makes next-generation germicidal Ultraviolet light solutions in California applying over 70 years and three generations of family craftsmanship and care. The UVDI-360 Room Sanitizer is now used globally in over 25 countries in the world’s leading hospitals, where it has been proven in peer-reviewed, published studies to reduce Healthcare-Associated Infections and inactivate the highest-risk pathogens. UVDI is proud to be a certified Minority

Czechs to Tighten Coronavirus Measures as Infections Soar: PM | World News

PRAGUE (Reuters) – The Czech government will tighten coronavirus measures from Wednesday to curb soaring infections and hospitalisations but will seek to avoid the kind of blanket lockdown imposed in the spring, government officials said on Sunday.

The nation of 10.7 million has recorded Europe’s fastest rate of growth in new cases per capita in recent weeks after authorities eased most restrictions during the summer following a tough lockdown at the start of the pandemic.

“We have to decide on further measures, that will happen on Monday at the government session, and the measures will be effective from Wednesday,” Prime Minister Andrej Babis said in a video message on YouTube.

He did not give any details on the measures.

Finance Minister Alena Schillerova said earlier on Sunday that the government sought to avoid the complete lockdown the country experienced in spring.

“We don’t want to switch off the economy. We want to have it (the measures) more targetted… We will limit contacts and gatherings of people,” she said.

So far in October, the Czech Republic has reported more than 43,000 cases, the same number as for the whole of September. The number of hospitalised patients jumped by 76% to 2,085 in the past week, raising concerns that hospitals may soon be overwhelmed.

Some hospitals have started postponing planned procedures to make space for COVID-19 patients, while the Czech Medical Chamber warned last Sunday that the number of infected doctors, nurses and other medical staff was rising rapidly.

(Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Michael Kahn, Gareth Jones and Frances Kerry)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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